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Patricia O'Connell
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Kirk Nahra Discusses Eleventh Circuit’s Review of HIPAA Conflict with Florida Law

Bloomberg BNA’s Health Law Reporter
March 13, 2014

Kirk J. Nahra, chair of Wiley Rein’s Privacy Practice, was quoted today in an article published in Bloomberg BNA’s Health Law Reporter about an anticipated appellate ruling on whether a Florida malpractice law is preempted by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit will be the first federal appeals court to decide if “a law that requires patients, as a condition of suing their providers, to sign an authorization allowing the doctor and others to conduct ex parte interviews provides less protection than HIPAA’s regulatory scheme,” according to the article.  Mr. Nahra—who also co-chairs the Health Care Practice—said the decision will test the extent to which state laws could avoid HIPAA restrictions by mandating disclosures in other areas.

“The Florida statute appears at the very least to be aimed at facilitating goals that are inconsistent with the HIPAA Privacy Rule by requiring individuals to give up certain HIPAA protections,” Mr. Nahra said.  “The case exposes an interesting interplay between preemption principles—that HIPAA preempts state laws that are less protective of personal health information—and ‘required-by-law’ disclosures.”